It was a perfect weekend for racing. The sun was out, the grandstands were full and the high speed circuit looked stunning. All of which contributed to a record breaking crowd of 33,000 over the weekend.
The Ginetta GT5 Challenge had qualifying and round 4 of the championship on Saturday with round 5 on Sunday with live itv4 coverage and a huge crowd watching on.
In my Thruxton preview article I said that this weekend would be a challenging one as I had to get to grips with the ultra-fast Thruxton circuit in the 20 minute qualifying session. Qualifying went smoothly and I felt that as the session progressed I would get quicker and quicker but, as the track temperature was so high, midway through the session, the tyres started to overheat and I lost grip, which meant I couldn’t improve on my lap time. The result of this was I would be starting round 4 from 11th position.
During the break between qualifying and the race, we made some set up changes to the car to see if I could extract some more pace and improve on my starting position. Starting from 11th I tried to keep out of trouble at the start, picking up 1 place on the opening lap. I made up one more position during the race to finish 9th. During the race I managed to improve on my qualifying lap time by 0.4 s where almost every other driver was around 1.5s slower, which was promising and showed that I was getting used to the circuit and being braver round Church corner!
Overnight we made some more set up changes ready for the big race as I was not 100% happy with the cars handling. Sunday morning came and there was a real excitement in the air as the circuit began to fill with thousands of spectators. Starting from 9th I battled my way up the order during the race and on the final corner of the final lap I went for an overtake which would have put me into 6th position however there was contact which resulted in me losing a position and then receiving a 7s penalty for gaining an unfair advantage which resulted in another lost position. This meant I finished in 8th position which was not the result I was hoping for but on the bright side, during the race I got some great coverage on itv4.
It was great to be racing on the BTCC TOCA package and I can wait till we do it again at Croft on the 17/18th of June. In between now and then, the next 3 races of the championship take place at Oulton Park on the 28th of May, supporting the British GT.